Pick Your Dystopia
“Orwell was wrong. Huxley…now there’s a prophet for you.” Anonymous
Pepe Escobar gave a lecture at the 13th Seminary of Political Solidarity Don Juan Chavez in memoriam at the University of Zaragoza, Spain. Part of which has been reproduce in Asia Times and Counter Punch. A fairly scathing taking of world civilization or brutal reality check – depending on ones point of view. Dealing with how “Casino capitalism – aka turbocharged neoliberalism – is ruthlessly destroying the last vestiges of the welfare state and the egalitarian consensus in the industrialized West” Where –
Integration, socialization and multiculturalism are being corroded by disintegration, segregation, and widespread de-socialization – a direct consequence of the David Harvey-coined notion of “dis-accumulation” (society devouring its own).
And that –
This state of things is what Flemish philosopher and art historian Lieven De Cauter, in his book Entropic Empire, calls “the Mad Max phase of globalization”.
An individualistic, self-indulgent, passive, easily controllable consumer drowned in a warped form of democracy that basically favors insiders – and very wealthy players; how could that be a humanist ideal? Yet the PR was so good that this is what legions in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America aspire to. But it’s still not enough for the geo-economic Masters of the Universe.
Thus post-history as the ultimate reality show. And war neoliberalism as its favorite weapon.
Indeed. I myself had come to this very conclusion when I saw that what has been passing as technological advances in the last 20 years or so were noting more than glorified play toys for college educated bourgeois. As well as better ways to kill off those who get in the way of neocon and neoliberal world control and domination. With their heads firmly implanted in some high tech device (and up their ass) and being constantly fed a stream of misinformation, they firmly believe that everything is under control.
But as Mike Whitney points out, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Obama’s budget cuts. Retail sales are off, manufacturing is sputtering, earnings are weak, existing home sales are dropping, and durable goods are in the tank.
Problems in the US are compounded by growing troubles abroad, notably the slowdown in China and the ongoing Depression in Europe.
And that –
Let’s not kid ourselves, none of this is accidental. This whole permanent Depression-thing is just part of the plan. How could it not be? I mean, is there anyone dumb enough to believe in austerity anymore? Even the right-wing Washington Post has given belt tightening the old heave-ho.
But it doesn’t matter how discredited the policy is, the politicians are going to keep ratcheting up the pressure until they get what they want, which is, more privatization of public assets, more busting up federal unions and more dismantling critical safetynet programs. (particularly, SS, Medicare, Medicaid) Present policy has nothing to do with growing the economy or putting people back to work. It’s just plain old class warfare.
As Pepe Escobar says neoliberals are systematically unwinding and unraveling society- A devolution for the sake of capitalism.
It goes without saying that post-history buries the Enlightenment – as favoring the emergence of all sorts of fundamentalisms. So it had also to bury international law; from bypassing the UN to launch a war on Iraq in 2003 to using a UN resolution to launch a war on Libya in 2011. And now Britain and France are taking no prisoners trying to bypass the UN or even NATO itself and weaponize the “rebels” in Syria.
So we have a New Medievalism that cannot but fit wealthy neo-theocracy – as in Saudi Arabia and Qatar; because they are Western allies, or puppets, internally they may remain medieval. Superimposed, we have the politics of fear – which essentially rules Fortress America and Fortress Europe; fear of The Other, which can be occasionally Asian but most of the time Islamic.
What we don’t have is a political/philosophical vision of the future. Or a historical political program; political parties are only worried about winning the next election.
As feudalism begot capitalism, so capitalism is producing the new feudalism. One need only look to Detroit or Youngstown Ohio or the mess that Sandy left that the victims are walking away from. Or better yet the incident in Boston where Americas Gestapo and SS closed the entire city down just to find one 19 year old kid. I hope the residents gave the request salute as they passed by their homes that they dare not leave, lest they find themselves riddled with bullet holes. “Shot while trying to escape.” I believe the term was.
Our new technology is making this as easy and efficient as turning off a light switch.
Financialization’s ultimate goal is unlimited accumulation of profit – a system where the wealthy get much wealthier and the poor get literally nothing (or, at best austerity). The real-life Masters of the Universe are a denationalized rentier class – cannot even call them noblesse, because mostly their absence of taste and critical sense is appalling, as in purveyors of unabashed bling bling. What they do is to the benefit of corporations, instead of the protecting functions of states. In this state of things military adventures become police doctrine. And a new information technology – from drones to “special” munitions – can be used against popular movements, not only in the South but also the North.
And in LA, NYC and Boston. This whole neoliberal thought, lest ye forget, got it’s start with the so called “Best and the Brightest” A group of capitalism worshiping intellectuals who were so afraid that communism would take over the world, they plunged head on into a war in South East Asia that would become the blueprint for neoconservatives and neoliberals from then on.
Leaving it their wake one version of dystopia after another.
Not many contemporary thinkers are equipped to thrash Left and Right in equally devastating measure. Michea tells us that both Left and Right have submitted to the original myth of capitalist thinking; this “noir anthropology” that makes Man an egoist by nature. And he asks how could the institutionalized Left have abandoned the ambition of a just, decent society – or how the neoliberal wolf has wreaked havoc among the socialist sheep.